There’s a big leadership lesson going on for our first female prime minister. It is incredibly difficult to lead without authority and with the support of the minority. Ever since she has taken up her role as prime minister, there has been speculation that she will not survive, that her leadership will inevitably be challenged, that she may indeed die by the sword she lives by. I’ll give Julia Gillard her due; she is staunch and standing firm. But boy must she be working hard and will have to work even harder to maintain her position.
It’s difficult to lead when you have minority support. The leader is constantly walking on eggshells, trying to win the approval of others and influence mindsets that are quite opposed to their own. And in the Prime Ministers case, these people have opposing beliefs also.
A leader needs to have their tribe heading in the same direction, towards a common goal with engagement levels at their optimum. Diversity within a team offers rich conversation, creativity and ideas so it’s certainly not about getting a team of people together who all have the same beliefs and opinions. How boring! It is however about them believing in the vision and being part of the delivery.
To lead with authority, efficiency and inspiration, a leader needs to be able to influence, motivate, empower and make decisions in a timely manner. They need to be able to communicate effectively and with passion. To communicate their vision and the culture of their organisation to create their ‘followship’.
There has been leaders that have lead through hard times before, who had minority support and inspired others to not only see their big picture but to believe in it and bring it to reality long after their passing. Martin Luther King Jnr is a classic example of this. He tirelessly and passionately communicated his vision with such distinction that even today his “I have a dream” speech is used as of the of the best examples of a visionary leader. I’m also not sure there is anyone who has tried to influence a race of people quite like he did.
If Julia is going to survive, she is going to need strength like steel and a resolve to succeed together with communication skills that influence people and paint a picture in their minds of the nation she is trying to create for us. At this stage, I’m confident that we only see a blur.